You are to be a people peculiarly His own.
Day Ten of Lent: Saturday of the First Week of Lent – Deuteronomy 26
And today the Lord is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly His own, as He promised you – Deut 26:18.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
Today’s reading takes us into the heart of the Gospels. On the one hand, God reminds us that we are His people (amazing!); on the other, we are to enter into the battlefield of the heart and begin carrying out His exhortations which are oftentimes exactly what we try to avoid such as loving our enemy and keeping the Commandments. But here is the good news, even when we fall – and we will – we are still called the beloved of God or “peculiarly His own.”
God loves each one of us unconditionally. While this fact should give all faithful immediate peace, it is no doubt peculiar in the eyes of the world. Thank goodness though our God is nothing like the world. It does give credence, however, to why God commands us to follow Him and not the world in which we live. From the very beginning, by grace, He has claimed us as His own. In light of this, He walks side-by-side with us, protecting us and nudging us to draw more near to Himself with each passing day. Even when we have given up on ourselves, God never does. It is because of this great love He has for us that God never stops pushing us to grow in faith and in sanctity, moving us from glory to glory; calling us to “be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). This is the narrow path that leads to Heaven. And because He has first loved us (when we have been most undeserving), we too are to love, honor, and serve Him … and love others.
What are we to do?
“Heart! Mind! Soul! Strength! We are to love God with our entire being. All of it!” writes Macrina Wiederkehr in her book of reflections The Flowing Grace of Now. She notes that it is the word all that is most frightening to us. To love God with our entire being is to love Him so much that we are willing to risk everything to carry out His will and abandon our own. “Love is to be lived out even in the hardest of times,” she writes, “[but] love is a treasure … the diamond for which we are searching.” Love is indeed a treasure because God is love. And because He loves us with an unconditional love, we are called to love Him (and His children, our neighbor) with a kind of love pleasing to Him in return.
Day 10 Lenten Meditation
We spend most of our lives searching. We search for the right job, vocation, spouse, house, car, etc. While those are the more obvious things, these exterior wants are often motivated by an interior search for who we are, want to be, and are meant to be. But as Saint Augustine said best, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.” Yes indeed. Our heart is certainly restless until it rests in God. When we stop frantically searching for the unsearchable in the world and rest in God’s love instead, we find everything we need and are looking for. Ultimately, it is love of God and of neighbor that leads the way to everlasting life.
God of all-encompassing and unconditional love, open our hearts to love You with our whole heart, our whole mind, and our whole soul. You are the only way, Lord; the true pathway to everlasting peace and joy. Please continue to guide us so that we may mirror and project Your light in a darkened world. Merciful Father, teach us to be perfect as You are perfect. Help us to be more merciful, forgiving, and loving of others just as You have been for us. We pray this all in Your good and holy Name, amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
Do something kind for someone who is not kind to you.
“One must see God in everyone” –Saint Catherine Laboure.